TV presenter Dame Esther Rantzen is among supporters of a group of grandparents from Hendon who are campaigning for a change in the law to support the right of children to have an ongoing relationship with their grandparents.
The Grandparents Support Group say there are possibly more than two million grandparents across the country who do not have contact with their grandchildren for reasons such as divorce, bereavement and family disputes.
But they have now launched a petition to lobby the government to change that.
As well as being "hurtful" for the grandparents, children also suffer because they grow up “with only half a family,” says Lorraine Bushell, 78, from Parson Street, Hendon, who runs the group.
She said: “The law does not presently convey an automatic right to grandparents to have contact to their grandchildren. At present grandparents, must firstly get over the hurdle of applying to the Court for ’leave,’ then if such leave is given they will formally apply to see their grandchildren for what is known as “a child arrangement order”.
She added: “But Grandparents are central to family life; they simply cannot be allowed to be the silent sufferers any longer.
" Accordingly, we call upon MP’s of all political parties and the media alike to assist with raising awareness of this important issue, the alternatives available and to press for leave of the court to be shelved once and for all so that grandparents can be fully recognised and the vital role that they play in families today.”
The group, which is being supported by Hendon MP Mathew Offord, needs 100,000 signatures in order for the petition to trigger a debate in Parliament. To sign petition visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/188381